THE West African Association for Cross-Border Trade in Agro-forestrypastoral, Fisheries products and Food (WACTAF) has revealed the factors responsible for the setback to distribution of agricultural products, livestocks, perishable products and fishing across the region. The group’s President, Alhaji Salami Nasiru Alasoadura, disclosed this to New Telegraph, in Lagos, saying that infrastructure deficiency and insecurity are major hindrances to crossborder trade in the West African corridor. He said lack of trailer park, lack of Customs bounded warehouse, electricity, water, hospital and others were posing difficulties to agric traders.
He also bemoaned lack of Customs connectivity between the Customs commands and Customs stations along the borders. “The lack of infrastructure is a major problem for our populations, the majority of which are made up of young people The members of WACTAF are professional organisations that carry out inter-state trade and which have access to the various corridors by which users transport goods. Eastern Burkina-Faso is an area of great insecurity. This borders the North of Togo and the North-West of Benin. “Four corridors are affected by insecurity.
These are the corridors: Nadiagou-koumpienga- Dapaong (81km); Nadiagou – Pama – Fada (123km); Nadiagou-Porga (36km) and Nadiagou – Namounou – Diapaga (162km). Alasoadura suggested that a military base be established at Nadiagou that will coordinate all military operations jointly carried out by Beninese, Burkinabé and Togolese soldiers. He said the return to economic stability in the area depended on several factors, including involving locally elected officials, chiefs, and traditional authorities at various levels in the management of the crisis.
He emphasised that the interstate road scheme was one of the best solutions to minimise cost of moving goods and formalise trade by introducing single guarantor and single tracking from loading point to the final destination. Alasoadura also noted that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be signed between the guarantors (Nexim Bank, for Nigeria Ghana insurance, Chamber of commerce for C.F.A zone). To actualise the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, he said the continent needed to harmonise various taxes like VAT statistics and others. “When we are talking about the Africa continental free zone, some countries their VAT is 18 per cent, some are 19 per cent, some and 12.5 per cent, while some are 7.50 per cent, and this different of levies cannot make some countries to be competitive,” he said.